Wednesday, May 17, 2017

OER Could Boost Colleges' Revenues - Jean Dimeo, Inside Higher Ed

Although tuition certainly matters to students, what matters more is “total cost of attendance.” That includes fees, books, transportation, and the opportunity cost of taking classes, among other things. (Reduced work hours to make time for classes leads to reduced income in the short term, which is a cost. Over time, if they graduate, they more than make it back, but in the here and now, it’s a cost.) Opportunity cost is lowest in recessions and highest during expansions, which is why our enrollments are counter-cyclical. So here’s the plan. If we get critical mass of sections using OER, and we can quantify the typical savings to students in some sort of credible way, I’d like to go to the Board with the following argument: If we raise tuition $5 a credit, a student taking 30 credits pays an extra $150 a year. But if we’re using OER in enough places that the student is saving $500 a year on books, she’s still coming out ahead.

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